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In chapter 5, we learn that Hester, despite the fact that her punishment does not force her to stay in Boston, has decided to stay in Boston. She takes up residence, with Pearl, at an empty cottage just outside of the town. She stays here, in part, because she feels compelled to do so and this compulsion comes from the fact that a great event occurred to her here and marked her life. Hawthorne tells us that this is normal human behavior. Another reason Hawthorne tells us that Hester stayed is that in Boston she would be near Pearl's father, the one with whom she shared her sin. Finally, Hawthorne suggests that Hester stayed because Boston was the scene of her "crime" and some part of Hester felt that it should be scene of her "sentence" she paid for her crime.
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